It’s at this point that I find myself at a bit of a loss for words because it is no easy task to describe Travis Graves. His day job is pro skateboarder. Yes, a skateboarding singer-songwriter…I am well aware of the dangerous ground we tread. At some point, and maybe still, he was homeless living out of his tour van in California. His music is not quite as elusive to describe. His latest release, 2005’s Perspectives on Record Collection, is a well crafted album. At times, the album contains the same bare nakedness of a Leonard Cohen album as well as the beautiful accompaniments of Beck’s Sea Change. In fact this album feels eerily close to Sea Change, right down to its sincerity. While some of the tracks have beautiful lush melodies, they never take center stage.
I learned just prior to the concert that Mt. Egypt would be backed by Band of Horses. I have to admit, it crossed my mind more than once that Band of Horses might possibly lift this material in the way The Flaming Lips were able to do with Beck. That expectation is probably not fair to place on anyone. As it turns out, Mt. Egypt was joined by two members of Band of Horses, so while the accompaniment didn’t necessarily take the music to new territory, it made sure to give the material the proper amount of respect. Travis Graves is one of those characters that seem truly content with his place in the world, even while his music seems to evoke a certain sad honesty.
At the risk of sounding cliché, what becomes of Mt. Egypt, and Travis Graves, will depend on what Travis decides to do with music. The music seems poised to be taken to great places but for all I know he may be content in never releasing another album. A piece I found in Thrasher magazine (dig through that collection of thrasher magazines and see if you have it) somehow seems to convey what little I know about Travis Graves:
“Once I asked Travis if he was to be killed by any animal, what kind would he like it to be? He responded after thinking long and hard, "Unicorn. Definitely a unicorn. You know, the horn right through the heart."
I would also like to send thanks to Tony and Beth, wherever they may be, who without I might still be standing with camera and glass of whiskey cursing Schuba’s. Check out more pics from the night here.